The Scottish Labour leader will use a keynote address to University College London to argue for a more federal UK, saying that such a move would begin to fix the failures of British politics, which have seen many people vote for a “leap into the dark" with Brexit and Scottish independence.
However, while Ms Dugdale’s call for a citizens’ convention to be established to review the country’s constitution has found favour with Jeremy Corbyn, her desire for a new Act of Union has not.
Loading article content
The Scottish Labour leader’s message comes as the party’s fortunes across the UK have slumped with an opinion poll showing the party on just 24 per cent, 16 points behind the Conservatives.
While Ukip was placed 10 points behind Labour, among working class voters the snapshot suggested it was ahead; 23 points to 20.
This might give Mr Corbyn and his colleague pause for thought ahead of next week’s by-election in Stoke, where Paul Nuttall, the Ukip leader, is the party’s candidate. Stoke has been dubbed Britain’s Brexit capital given almost 70 per cent of voters backed leaving the EU.
And following the suggestion at the weekend by Ian Lavery, Labour’s new elections co-ordinator, that there were several other potential “fantastic candidates” to be Labour leader, bookies are now saying Mr Corbyn is odds-on to stand down this year.
In her speech, Ms Dugdale will say: “Brexit represented a failure of our politics; people willing to take a leap in the dark and vote for independence represented a failure of our politics.
“And in the face of it, governing parties haven’t just ignored the problem, they’ve doubled down on the disastrous policies that got us here in the first place.
“And now, even after all that we’ve gone through; we’re making the same mistakes again,” she will declare.
The Scottish Labour will ask: “How could we possibly go through the past decade and face the next decade and believe that the way we govern ourselves doesn't need to change?”
On February 24, the day after the Stoke and Copeland by-elections, when some pundits are predicting Labour will lose both contests, a motion will be put to Scottish Labour conference, calling for a constitutional convention and a move towards a more federal UK.
It will say: “We believe that together, we’re stronger. Today our country is deeply divided, not just by constitutional politics but by economic inequality. To restore faith in our politics, build a more united society and create an economy that works for working people, we believe that we need to create a more federal UK.
“Therefore, we call for the UK Labour Party to convene a People’s Constitutional Convention, made up of citizens from across the United Kingdom, and to report before the next UK General Election.”
In her speech, Ms Dugdale will argue that the Scottish Labour proposal will seek to build out from the benefits Scotland already derives from being part of the UK and that it would bring power closer to people.
She will insist: “It does mean more powers for the Scottish Parliament; starting with those powers in devolved areas that will return from Brussels in the coming years.
“These are the proposals that we will take to any constitutional convention in the future and which I believe would strengthen the UK well into the future.
“The vast majority of people in Scotland want what the Labour Party wants: a strong Scotland with a strong Scottish Parliament inside the United Kingdom. I believe that is even truer now after Brexit.”
The party leader will add: “The hard work of constitutional reform has never been undertaken by either the SNP or the Tories; it’s been achieved by Labour.”
Speaking at the same event, Baroness Randerson, the Liberal Democrat Welsh peer, will also call for a new federal UK settlement.
"Brexit threatens to impose an intolerable strain on the very structure of the UK. It is generally agreed that the Brexit vote was a symptom of public unhappiness with the status quo, that runs much deeper than the powers of the EU.
"The stresses are greatest in Scotland, which voted to remain, and in Wales, which voted to leave but is led by a Government that wants to remain.
"What we therefore need,” the Lib Dem peer will add, “is a 'refresh' of federalism but it must be accompanied by renewed and real trust in the people; no more centralised solutions but devolution of power to communities instead."